Intercultural management in Argentina / Business Communication

Essay, 2004

19 Pages, Grade: A



1. Introduction

2. The Argentinean model
2.1. Categorization of the two cultures
2.2. Relationship employer to employee
2.3. The view of time in Argentina and Germany
2.4. Negotiation and the establishing of compromise
2.5. Entertaining the different cultures
2.6. Verbal and nonverbal communication
2.7. On the job actions

3. Appliance of the results
3.1. Guideline to work with employees from Argentina in Germany
3.2. How to lead an Argentinean project group in Argentina
3.3. Successful negotiations with Argentinean business people

4. Conclusion


Sources / Literature

1. Introduction

The following work tries to give practical help for business communication between Argentineans and Germans. The help is orientated to German Managers and employees and tries to show and explain the differences between business customs of these two countries. The reason is the importance of the trade between Germany and Argentina (see appendix I) and that these numbers with more cultural awareness maybe could be increased.

First, a “model” of the typical Argentinean is made in Chapter 2. This includes some stereotypes, but this is inevitable for this work. It is assumed that the typical Argentinean will rarely deviate from this inherit pattern.[1] The attitude towards leadership, time, task orientation, etc. is examined. On this basis the following three examples are tried to explained in Chapter 3:

1. How should a German manager in Germany handle and work with a a.) female and b.) male employee?
2. How can a German manager work successful in Argentina with a group of Argentineans?
3. What considerations are necessary for a successful (contract) negotiations between Argentinean and German business people.

When the discussions is about “Argentineans”, the Argentinean should be understand as porteňo, which stands for the citizen of Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Nearly 12 million inhabitants populate this city. The porteňos are seen in South America, and also in other parts of their own country, as arrogant or divided from their own country. Buenos Aires is cultured, cosmopolitan, modern and dynamic, while the other parts of this huge land could not follow this progress.[2] Argentineans are also called “the most Europeanized” (and educated) people in Latin America.[3] We further found sentences that it seems “like a European country that has somehow been misplaced in South America”.[4] But we will also find the origins from the Indians (rural habits, poor cooperation with authorities) or Hispanics characteristics (importance of status, good grasp for human values) and the attitude of conquerors (lack of discipline, little aptitude for parliamentary rules).[5]

2. The Argentinean model

2.1. Categorization of the two cultures

Germans are linear-active persons. These attribute is used for a society that prefers to plan and organize things.[6] Coincidence should be avoided or reduced to a minimum. Very important for these linear-active person, especially for Germans, is the so called action chain.[7] These order says that every action should be completed before the next is started. The action chain will be explained more detailed in the next chapters. Furthermore are Germans data-orientated.[8] This refers to the circumstance that they do research and want to gather a lot of information, cause it is necessary to be prepared for the business. The negotiation will be started from the collected database.

Argentineans are in contrast multi-active[9], which describes that they manage different things at the same time. They are also not data-orientated, they are dialogue-orientated.[10] They rely on their own experience and need no additional information. They try to use their personal relations to solve problems.[11]

2.2. Relationship employer to employee

The relationship from employer to employee is in Argentina characterized by the following indicators:

- Nepotism
- Centered authority
- Subservience
- Status

Nepotism in that case means the filling of important jobs with family members like son, cousins, nephew, etc.. or with other sympathizers. Women are rarely seen in these groups. The whole authority is gathered around the leader and his group, the employees under this level accept these, trust in the leader and offer him therefore their “subservience”. The leader receives his authority by the following indicators[12]: age, reputation, wealth and sometimes also from his education and experience. Mistakes of the leaders are forgiven, cause the basis that surrounded the relationship is human, and everybody is allowed to make mistakes.[13]

2.3. The view of time in Argentina and Germany

Argentineans are multi-active[14], as described. The do not use a schedule, planes are not “God-given”, they act however the importance of different task it demands. The so called “maňana”-attitude exists, which describes that things that are not made today can still be made tomorrow. Time is not money, efficiency has to queue far behind the personal relationship. They think that they can manage more and better in this way. In appendix II there is shown the different view Germans and Argentineans have towards time. The dialogue-orientation plays an important role in the time management of Latins, cause this is the source that leads their daily work and gives information which action should be the next one.

2.4. Negotiation and the establishing of compromise

Negotiation with Argentineans or Latins in general should be done under the following considerations: In opposite to most of the European countries or the U.S.A. have Argentineans not the same objectives in negotiations: Their goals have the following ranking:[15]

1. National honor
2. Personal prestige of the group or the chief negotiator
3. Long term relationship (with the other party)
4. Current deal

Acknowledging this means understanding that the negotiation can take long and that the results achieved still can be changed (because of the long term relationship, which should be more valuable than written or spoken words). The whole process is more “brainstorming” then negotiation. The most important goal in the negotiation with Argentineans should be the establishing of trust, showing respect and friendship. A slow process is better than the attempt to rush through. Also the Germans have to be careful with their direct way to ask and to criticize. In opposite to many other cultures they ask directly what they want, the don’t camouflage the intention.[16]

When trying to achieve a compromise[17], it must considered that Argentineans come mostly with cemented positions into negotiations. Convincing them is hard, because they are proud and don’t like to concede. And they are sometimes less open to the discussion of new ideas.[18] Also it must be aware that they are bad listeners, and that their attention bears up only for a short period of time. Decisions will still be made by the leader and not questioned by his group. So it is necessary to concentrate the persuasion on the leader of the group.

2.5. Entertaining the different cultures

Argentineans like to go to restaurants. Normal hours are 2pm to 4pm for lunch and 10pm until an open end for dinner. Business talks should be avoided to this time, or at least the business talk should be started by the Argentineans.[19] it is more useful to have some small talk. The Germans don’t like those kind of conversation, but it is inevitable and they should be trained in it. It is not expected that the Germans take responsibility for that, this can be given to the Argentineans. They never run out of steam and are therefore the ideal partner. Also they are bad listeners, and the Germans are good listeners, so the positions are clear. After eating, everybody should stay at least one and half a hour longer to socialize.[20]

If a private invitation for dinner at the home of an Argentinean is announced, it is highly recommended to bring gifts.

2.6. Verbal and nonverbal communication

The Argentineans will show a vide variety of verbal and nonverbal communication. First, we will find fiercely discussions that may look for outsiders like fights. This will be supported by gestures to denote different aspects. Silence is seldom or never found. Before or after the meeting it is normal to talk about private stuff. Also “Small talk” is very favored”. The emphasis that frame discussions are a very important indicator for the direction of the conversation.


[1] Lewis, R.D. (1999), p. 119

[2] Goodwin, P. (1994), 58

[3] Nouzeilles, G. / Montaldo, G. (2002), p. 1

[4] Fundacion Invertir Argentina

[5] Lewis, R.D. (1999), p. 418

[6] Lewis, R.D. (1999), p. 5

[7] Lewis, R.D. (1999), p. 123

[8] Lewis, R.D. (1999), p. 45; for further information see appendix III and IV

[9] Lewis, R.D. (1999), p. 5

[10] For further information see appendix III

[11] Lewis, R.D. (1999), p. 47

[12] Lewis, R.D. (1999), p. 73 + 80

[13] Lewis, R.D. (1999), p. 74

[14] Lewis, R.D. (1999), p. 5

[15] Lewis, R.D. (1999), p. 120

[16] Gudykunst, W.B. / Ting-Toomey, S. (1988) p. 100

[17] Compromise in this case should be understand as finding a middle between different parties.

[18] Executiveplanet (2003)

[19] Executiveplanet (2003)

[20] Executiveplanet (2003)

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Intercultural management in Argentina / Business Communication
Anhalt University of Applied Sciences  (Southern Polytechnic State University)
Culture and Society
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I am thus in each of these ways spanish french indian who knows warrior farmer merchant poet perhaps rich poor of all classes and of none and well i'm argentine [César Fernández Moreno]
Intercultural, Argentina, Business, Communication, Culture, Society
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Armin Gruwe (Author), 2004, Intercultural management in Argentina / Business Communication, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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